Bill to Ensure Brain Injury Coverage Passes Committee


Armstrong Legislation to Ensure Coverage of Medical Treatment
 for Brain Injuries Passes Health Committee

Bill Requires Plans to Cover Services Needed for Brain Injury Patients, No Lifetime Limit


HB 556, a bill introduced by Rep. Deborah Armstrong to ensure that health care services needed by patients dealing with traumatic brain injuries are covered by insurance plans, passed the House Health Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 7-2.

“Traumatic brain injuries can be debilitating health issues that, until recently, we have had limited means of treating,” Armstrong said. “Today, with advancements in health care and science, there is more and more that can be done to help these patients recover and live better lives with their injuries. We must ensure that New Mexicans have the health insurance coverage needed to allow them to access the treatment they need.”

Specifically, HB 556 amends the Health Care Purchasing Act, the New Mexico Insurance Code, the Health Maintenance Organization Law and the Nonprofit Health Care Plan Law to require insurance policies to cover brain injury treatments and to eliminate any lifetime limit on the amount of care a patient can access.

“Traumatic brain injuries can cause patients to need care for the rest of their lives,” Armstrong said. “It’s critical that there is no limit to patients’ ability to receive services so that they can get the treatment they need to recover and lead fulfilling lives.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a traumatic brain injury occurs every 21 seconds in our country. In New Mexico, 1,745 people sustain traumatic brain injuries each year and the average cost of care in New Mexico for the first year after an injury is $150,000.


HB 556 now goes before the House Business and Employment Committee before going to the House floor for a vote.


About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie is a long-time health care advocate. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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Paid for by Debbie Armstrong for New Mexico, Jill Riester, Treasurer

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